Sunday, April 28, 2013

Become a Creator or a Fixer NOT an Enabler

Addition to the original post: Why NOT to do an MBA

I've been promoting this post on my Facebook Timeline and Twitter Timeline with headers stating that the world is echoing with this mantra. To support my claims this post is dedicated at bringing more information from some credible sources to help you (the reader) think on the topic and take it seriously.

".........Recently, more companies have indicated that "they are moving away from an emphasis on M.B.A.s" and are instead hiring more undergraduates at lower salaries that they can then train in-house, says Camille Kelly, vice president of employer branding at Universum, a firm that advises companies on how to attract and retain the best employees. Companies, she says, "still will do M.B.A. hiring, but it won't be to the same extent they have in the past."

The article says that the pay package received by students fell about 62% at 186 schools. People find it difficult to survive in the weak economic state and go in for higher studies to boost their hire-ability, thinking it would be the formula to success and a high salary. But to what end? The job market for MBAs has become smaller and the pay has decreased.

".......A weak economic climate is only partly to blame for the M.B.A.'s plight. The changing nature of B-school programs, evolving corporate needs—as well as the perceived value of the degree—have all helped dilute the M.B.A.'s allure...."

The key statements to read from the above excerpts are: (a) "Evolving corporate needs" (b) "perceived value of the degree".

In my humble opinion, the WSJ has tried to dilute the problem by putting part of the blame on the weak economy. Its when the going gets tough that we 1st cut off the luxuries and MBAs were always a luxury as these people know how to manage and look at things in a superficial light, which will not help companies survive as their employees need to get their hands dirty to understand the business in a thorough manner.

Jay Bhatti is an investor and advisor to start ups in NYC. Ex-founder of and a Product Manager at Microsoft. He completed his MBA in 2002 from Wharton Business School. He has seen the heights of the demand for MBAs and is currently seeing the lows as well.

He says: "The sad reality is that an MBA is not as valuable today as it was 30 years ago. Stanford University published data stating that from 2005 to 2008, over 94% of graduates had jobs by graduation. However, since then, only about 75% of graduates had jobs lined up at graduation. Stanford is a top MBA program, so you can imagine it being worse at other schools. In fact, 21 schools that are ranked by US News & World Report said that for the past few years, nearly 50% of their graduates did not have jobs at graduation."

Like all MBAs he has also analysed this problem from a superficial point of view, saying that only the top 5 schools will get you an ROI. He says that the MBA course was designed in the 1950s when the top companies saw that the employees lacked management skills and wanted to hire managers to enable the employees.

Reading in between the lines, applying my own experience and mixing it up with the WSJ article, I see a deeper problem. Today most people can naturally learn the skill of management and with the recession and a weak economy companies want to hire only those candidates which can help them grow from the foundation to top. Its like any building, make a strong foundation and the building stands strong.

In my humble opinion: The demand for generalists has just disappeared as they do not help the company grow. Generalists just manage what they have. They do not innovate the product, or invent a new product- that is done by scientists or engineers (aka creators) or the true professionals. MBAs are not professionals but are managers aka enablers.

Today the companies want creators to help create new assets that can generate more revenue.

As an MBA pass out and as a person involved in a start up I see things at a level where employees of big corporations and students can not. I have always believed in the view that to learn something you need to start from the foundation and build it strong. This is what is required today also. People need to have a strong foundation to be hire-able. Foundations can only built with skillsets. MBAs do not give you the skills for building a foundation, they build on top of the foundation.

My advice to all students or employees who have not yet or are thinking of an MBA- DON'T.
Think of a MS or an MSc or an MTech. Become a Master of One field. 

Excel in One Field any field, and you shall get hired.

-> SJ

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